Aim low and never be disappointed again

by Valerie Lopez

Great expectations almost always lead to great disappointments.

I realize that this ubiquitous problem renders everything I’m about to say almost cliché, but I can’t help reiterating the perpetual disappointments produced by great expectations into the universal dialogue of bitching. My personal great disappointments vary from trivial things, such as sandwiches, to more significant spheres of my life.

Case in point number one: Like many others, I have been unfortunate enough as to suffer the great sadism of the science department via eight o’clock classes. An eight o’clock class, coupled with the maniacal sprinklers mocking students on a cold morning, severely accentuates the strife of a Monday. On days like these, I try to anticipate the small things that will redeem. Always, I eagerly await for the clock to strike 12, so I can be united with the glory of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. After tolerating a ridiculously long line of equally eager students, my idealized sandwich of scrumptioulicious cheesy glory lies before me. However, the real, material version is flaccidly soaked with butter grease and rubbery cheese. And then Monday goes completely rancid once more.

Case in point number two: On the occasions that my friends and I encounter a ridiculously good looking fellow around we always seem to formulate great expectations of these individuals based on assumptions. Clearly, this is a red-flag for imminent disappointment, but we just can’t break free. For example, my friends and I have verily appreciated the aesthetics of an endearing McGoofy individual, only to discover that, in reality, his more accurate description should be McSlutty. Or when we encounter a very well-kept character (a.k.a. Gucci Boy) only to find out that the song “You’re So Vain” was especially made for him. I fully acknowledge that the culpability completely lies in us: we base our expectations on fallacious and superficial assumptions, and therefore are led into serious disappointments when we discover that our idealizations are incongruent to reality.

I could supplement these cases in point all day, discussing relationships, school, politics, but all share the all-encompassing question: Why is it that, after experiencing perpetual disappointments from great expectations, we continue to expect great things? I realize that there exists a psychological explanation based on actual research studies that elucidates this phenomenon, but for now we’ll leave that to the scientific wits.

Based on the first case in point, when days are stark and we feel like Eeyore, we attempt to alleviate our situations by hoping that there are better things to come. Therefore, I personally tend to idealize specific objects (such as the blameless inanimate sandwiches) or events in order to feel better, but am then sobered by reality later on. Self-revelation tells me that my great expectations are incongruent to reality simply because I can’t predict what reality is, or will be. Therefore, when my imagination has free reign in regards to hoping and idealizing, I’m likely to be disappointed.

Yet, sometimes, the extraordinary does happen, on the event that things far exceed our expectations, even the great ones. Therefore, it is comforting to know that perpetual disappointment isn’t necessarily perpetual and absolute. Perhaps one day when we least expect it, the grilled cheese will be good, or a charming prince will come, minus the McSluttiness.

I can’t propose any official solutions guaranteeing preventative measures for great disappointments; like I said, I’m merely contributing to the universal dialogue of bitching. But being open to spontaneity, at least for me, alleviates the burden of disappointments. And, while it is emotionally beneficial to be cautious with great expectations, we can’t expect to be disappointed all the time either. Which is kind of nice.

Interestingly enough, underpinning all great expectations is hope. When the world becomes banal, it is the hope for extraordinary things that gets me through, and maybe I speak for most of us. No matter how frequent the disappointments, I still await for the extraordinary, and perhaps this may just be my one great expectation I won’t be disappointed by.

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